The island of La Palma (originally named San Miguel de La Palma) is the most north-western island of the Canary’s archipelago. It has a total area of 708,32 km2 and its population density is about 82.000 inhabitants. Santa Cruz de La Palma is the capital and it’s located on the east coast of the island. However, the town with the largest population is Los Llanos de Aridane, on the west side.
With a volcanic origin and also known as Isla Bonita, La Palma becomes in a paradise of contrasts, where the blue waters merge with the green laurel forests and the moon-like landscapes. Thanks to this diversity of ecosystems and its singularity, La Palma was classified as World Biosphere Reserve in 2002 by UNESCO. It also has one of the four national parks of the archipelago: Caldera de Taburiente. This National Park is located in the centre of the island and the highest peak is found there: Roque de los Muchachos (2426 m high). Everyone can enjoy gorgeous panoramic views of the island from the top.
La Palma has long been famous due to its clear skies at night, becoming in one of the best spots of the planet for the stargazing. There are several activities and events related to the stars, a lot of astronomical viewpoints scattered around the island and one of the most important astrophysics institutes in the world, up on Roque de los Muchachos.
Listed as National Park in 1954, Caldera de Taburiente is one of the most emblematic places of the Isla Bonita. It is found in the central area of the island and it has a diameter of 8 km and a depth of 1,5 km. This giant kind of crater is surrounded by a range of peaks, and Roque de Los Muchachos is one of them as well as the highest point of the island. With an altitude of 2426 m, it offers some of the most beautiful landscapes from the top. The Astrophysical Observatory is also located there and it’s one of the most important observatories in the world, with 19 telescopes from 31 countries.
In the municipality of San Andrés and Los Sauces we find Bosque de los Tilos, one of the most important laurel forests in the Canary’s archipelago. This type of primitive forest was abundant during the Tertiary period and extended to various locations in Europe, although its presence is currently secluded to some islands of the Macaronesian region, such as the island of La Palma. This place offers numerous hiking routes, including the popular route known as “Los nacientes de Marcos y Cordero”.
To the south of La Palma, we find the municipality of Fuencaliente. This area is popularly known thanks to the wines and the incredible volcanic landscapes. The most recent volcanic eruption took place in this municipality in 1971, by Teneguía volcano, which gained ground to the sea. Apart from a fantastic gastronomy and unique wines, Fuencaliente is plenty of trails, banana farms, dreamlike beaches and the only salt flats of the island are here, in the southernmost point of the island, next to the lighthouse.
Tazacorte is a typical fishing municipality located on the west coast of La Palma, surrounded by banana farms. This municipality is split into Puerto de Tazacorte (beach, marina and touristic area) and Villa de Tazacorte (village). Tazacorte is currently experiencing an increasing tourism due to its unbeatable charm and mild climate throughout the year, with average temperatures ranging between 20-30◦C. The marina is the starting point for our whale watching tours and on its right hand side tourists and locals can enjoy one of the largest sandy beaches of the island, as well as a wide culinary offer and impressive views of the National Park, through the Barranco de las Angustias (a ravine that opens to the Caldera). On the other hand, Villa de Tazacorte is of cultural interest as it has a set of historical buildings dating from 16th and 17th centuries.
Puerto Naos is one of the closest touristic resorts to Tazacorte and people can travel there by their own vehicle or public transport. It has one of the most popular black sandy beaches on the island from where anyone can witness beautiful sunsets as well as enjoy diverse gastronomic possibilities.
The island of La Palma has an extensive trail network that takes advantage of a bunch of traditional paths such as the Camino Real de la Costa GR130 (Coastal Royal Path) that runs all around the island. Along these trails every visitor can appreciate the beauty of nature and the colourful contrasts of the Isla Bonita by walking from the arid landscapes of Fuencaliente to the lush northern laurel forests, not missing up to the highest peaks.